SACRAMENTO — The California Assembly has passed a bill creating a program that sets a 75-percent recycling target for scrap tires within the state.
The bill, Assembly Bill 2908, directs the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to develop an incentive system to make payments to entities that purchase waste tire material to use in making products for end-users.
The bill is supported by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association and environmental groups but opposed by some in the tire dealer community.
While the new incentive program will be funded from California's scrap tire fee of $1.75 on every new tire sold, AB 2908 also allows CalRecycle to charge an extra fee of up to $1 per tire if the state's tire fund is depleted.
AB 2908 now goes to California Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.
California generates about 44 million scrap tires every year, according to Assemblyman Marc Berman, who sponsored the bill.
"Incentivizing the remanufacturing of used tires into consumer products and pavement materials makes sense for the environment, jobs, public health and our bottom line," Mr. Berman said.
The environmental organization Californians Against Waste backed AB 2908.
"California's tire recycling rate has been far too low for far too long," said Nick Lapis, director of advocacy for the group.
"Providing incentive payments to end-users of recycled materials is among the most cost-effective ways to increase recycling, and it has been proven to work across different material types," Mr. Lapis said.
The incentive program replaces California's Rubber Pavement Market Development Act, which provided grants to municipalities for rubberized asphalt road projects.
John Sheerin, director of end-of-life tire programs for the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, said the organization worked with MR. Berman on the language in AB 2908.
"USTMA supports several provisions in the bill that help grow incentive payments and the collection of data that measures the effectiveness for recycling tires," Mr. Sheerin said.
The association also supports a provision in the bill that directs at least half of incentive payments go to rubberized pavement projects and the requirement that no additional fees shall be imposed until the Tire Fund is depleted, he said.
The bill spells out specific end-use products that are eligible as well as those that are not, including tire-derived fuel; exports of whole waste tires; crumb rubber and/or tire-derived aggregate solely as an intermediate product; rubberized pavement shipped out of state; synthetic turf infill; and loose rubber nugget or mulch playgrounds.
However, Terry Leveille, president of Sacramento-based TL & Associates and a consultant to the California Tire Dealers Association, said he has reservations about the bill's provisions and plans to write to Gov. Brown urging that he veto AB 2908.
California's tire fund has about $70 million, so there was no need to enact a provision for an additional fee, even one that is contingent on the fund's depletion, according to Mr. Leveille.
"CalReycle needs to show why it needs a huge new tire fee when it can't spend all it collects now," he said.
Mr. Leveille said he is skeptical of the incentive program, which in his opinion is too complicated.
"After following the California tire program for the past 30 years, I suggest that CalRecycle take the Tire Fund surplus and simply increase the current tire grant programs, and spend more marketing the program and the various tire-derived programs," he said.
California tire dealers, processors and recyclers opposed a similar bill before the California legislature in 2017 that called for replacing a state program funding rubberized pavement projects with a tire recycling incentive program.